Day 33 Raleigh, NC Rest Day 0 miles
Raleigh, AKA “City of Oaks”, for the many oak trees that line the downtown city streets, is an early example of a planned city. It is one of the few cities in the United States that was specifically planned and built to serve as a state capital. The city was laid out as a box formed by North, East, West and South Streets with the two main axies meeting at a central square and an additional square in each corner, similar to the layout in Philadelphia. Raleigh was chosen as the state capital in 1788 and the North Carolina State Capital Building was placed in Union Square, at the very center of the city.
Raleigh was not the site of any major battles during the Civil War and surrendered peacefully so it was not plundered by General Sherman. Many of its early structures still stand, intermixed with modern skyscrapers. After the war it nonetheless suffered economically due to it’s dependence on agriculture and the changing costs of labor, absent the previously enslaved workers. In the mid 20’th century Raleigh banded together with Chapel Hill and Durham to form Research Triangle, attracting tens of thousands of highly educated workers in the fields of health, science, and technology. By the 21’st century, Research Triangle had become one of the fastest growing communities in the United States.
I am told by Brynn, a local friend, that today was a typical Fall day in Raleigh, a mix of sun, clouds, wind, and rain, almost changing on a moments notice. Molly, Brynn, and I took off on foot to explore the downtown around our hotel. People were out and about, drinking, eating, or just strolling the tree lined streets and parks. Many streets in the central core were shutdown for Artsplosure, the two day Raleigh Arts Festival which included art exhibitions and several live bands.
Along the five block walk from our hotel to Artsplosure, we passed the North Carolina State Capital Building and at least half a dozen churches, including Sacred Heart Church, the smallest Roman Catholic cathedral in the continental United States.
After visiting the art booth and enjoying the music we ventured a few blocks west to historic, Moore Square, which since 1792, has been a place of gathering, reflection, entertainment, and recreation for the citizens of Raleigh. The four-acre downtown urban green space was originally conceived as one of five public green spaces for the City of Raleigh. In addition to some of the oldest standing buildings in the city, Moore Square retains many of it’s original cobble stone streets.
Raleigh architecture is a study in contrasts. Fifty story tall futuristic glass skyscrapers grow amidst centuries old 1 to 3 story historic structures. I must say the juxtaposition is surprisingly pleasing to the eye.
Fall is just starting to creep into the foliage in Raleigh.
Dinner was at Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen & Bar, 326 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, a very authentic and flavorful Greek restaurant.
Eleven states down, 4 more to go.
Feet Climbed 71,121
States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina